Posts Tagged ‘Brian West’

That’s The Story is a bay colt by Monarchy out of the Sundon mare Bree, who just happens to be a half sister to outstanding racehorse Stig.

The colt is part of the Studholme Bloodstock (Brian West) draft at the PGG Wrightson Sale of the Stars -Premier yearling sales in Christchurch.

The cross of Monarchy over a Sundon mare is a well established one, but ironically it is not the match that Brian West had originally planned. The breeding of Bree has its origins in the long journey Brian made through France a couple of years ago, during which he attended one of the  French yearling sales. He was taken by the number of Sam Bourbon yearlings he saw there. Sam Bourbon was on an “introductory offer” at that time in New Zealand for a lot less than his European fee.

On his return home, Brian was on the lookout for Sundon mares to buy and put to French sires, and Bree was one of those mares. But by then Sam Bourbon semen was in short supply in New Zealand, and after two rounds to him without success Brian had to make a call. Thinking it may be a reaction to frozen semen, which some mares can have, Brian didn’t switch to another French sire but instead went for Monarchy who stands locally – and job done.

The match still follows Brian’s preference for outcrossing up to 4 or 5 generations if possible. The nearest double up I can spot that includes both the mare’s pedigree and the sire’s pedigree is Speedy Scot (5×5) and Super Bowl (5×5).

In this case, Bree helps the outcrossing factor by being of very unusual breeding herself.

And one with a strong French influence.

Her damsire is Gekoj, one of a tiny handful of French-bred sires available here in the early 1980s. He left just 118 live foals, and was not a huge commercial success but with the benefit of hindsight we can note some interesting and top class names among his offspring including one of my favourites David Moss (31 wins, almost half a million), Drott Moss and Look. There is a hint that maybe the timing wasn’t right (we too were into stamina trotters and needed the injection of speed that American trotting sires like Sundon eventually gave) but there was a quality of outcome that signalled potential in the outcross of European and downunder trotters.

Bree’s dam Nakaia went to Gekoj in 1985. The year before she had been mated with another of those rare French sires available here, Jet D’Emeraude to produce Nakura, the dam of Take A Moment, Now’s The Moment, Juverna etc.

The family of Lot 201 is an odd one, tending to produce one absolutely outstanding horses in each generation from a fairly large number of offspring. Bree’s dam Naraya, the dam of Stig, has produced to date 7 foals, 1 to race, 1 inner (i.e. Stig). Her own dam (Nakaia) has a similar record, i.e.  8 foals, 2 to race  and 2 winners.

But look at the family that is developing from some of the offspring of the two French bred mares out of Nakaia – it is all class including Take A Moment,  Dream A Moment, Doctor Hook, Quite A Moment etc.

Gekoj and Jet D’Emeraude became available here through Captain Odvaar Andersen.

According to the Addington Timeline website

“In the late 70’s and early 80’s he brought out four French stallions – Beau Nonantias (2:04.7), Gekoj (2:02.5), Iguassou (2:09.5) and Jet d’Emeraude (1:59.2) and the Norwegian horse Inter Du Pas (2:07.3). Gekoj was probably by far the best of them as a sire. He stood four seasons in Mid-Canterbury and left 83 live foals – 17 of them winners – before his death at the age of 19.”

Lot 201 yearling That's the story

Lot 201 That’s The Story, by Monarchy out of Bree.

You can contact me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz if you have any recollections of those French sires here and how they were received at the time.

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You know my interest in Tintin In America. I bred him, and I think he has the potential to be a good sire.

With that in mind, I have bred a mare to him (Sophie’s Choice which I blogged about before). I have also bought a half share in a Tintin In America x A Legend yearling filly bred by Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock.

Be A Legend

Be A Legend, yearling, November 2013

She was chosen mainly on type and family, rather than specific pedigree matching. I think it is really important as a breeder not to be so caught up in any pedigree matching theory that it dominates close observation of family and type, and a clear thinking process about why you are breeding and what you want out of the result. That’s why I like Brian West’s approach to managing his fillies; he has a good process which he follows to  discover the filly’s potential and allow good decisions to be made. That’s not the same as being ruthless or rigid. It is being clear headed and thoughtful, and he’s definitely a role model for me in that regard.

I’ve included the details of the pedigree match below. The closest duplications are Niatross and Albatross in the 4th and 5th generations. Both the sire and the dam have a 5×6 Tar Heel in good places. Other than that, there is the common stack of Meadow Skipper in the background (5th generation and further).

So let’s look at type and family.

I was visiting Brian earlier last year, and wanted to see some Tintin In America weanlings. He is willing to try new sires that showed that x factor on the track, and bred to Tintin in his first and second year as a sire. (I blogged on a couple of the current foals I saw in November at Studholme Bloodstock.)

Tintin In America x A Legend

Be A Legend – head takes after her damsire Safely Kept.

In the paddock with her filly friends, this yearling filly really caught my attention. She has “a head like Betty” – “Betty” being Bettor Cover Lover (who is no relation at all). I love horses with that look. There is something tough and noble about them. This filly gets the roman nose from her dam’s side. A Legend is by Safety Kept and he has a beautifully ugly head, very much the same.

A Legend is a half sister to the top horses Bit Of A Legend and London Legend. These are both horses I’ve followed and admired.

A Legend has a more modest record of 1 win and 1 place from 8 starts but showed ability. Her win was coming three wide from the back, sitting parked and fighting on hard. I like that sort of toughness.

The yearling is named Be A Legend, and will be broken in soon and trained by Cran Dalgety, who knows the family well of course. I’m lucky to get the chance to share in this adventure.

Tintin x A Legend

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The ones I’ve seen have all been attractive types. The photos below are two of Tintin’s foals bred by Studholme Bloodstock’s Brian West – one out Titled, an unraced Mach Three mare, and the other out of Stunning, a winning Island Fantasy mare who has to date produced a couple of lovely looking Courage Under Fire foals that went through the yearling sales for Studholme Bloodstock, one selling for $70,000 and the other passed in at $30,000. I like the pedigree of both mares with Tintin In America. The mares both bring blood that Tintin In America will enjoy.

But on type alone, I thought these were both very attractive foals.

Brian West is not afraid to try newer sires if they have the qualities he’s looking for, especially if they are likely to attract some commercial interest because they were racehorses much admired by trainers and punters. This season he’s putting several of his mares to Auckland Reactor for that reason, and also some to Stunin Cullen and Sir Lincoln I believe. He’s supported Changeover previously and of course had a lot of return from Courage Under Fire as a sire of Lancome and Secret Potion among others. It is great to see a breeder of Brian’s calibre supporting the top homebred sires who offer that x factor.

The eyecatcher for me was the Titled colt foal, and I’ve put in two photos of Tintin In America at about the same age for comparison. Just on type, he looks strong and intelligent. He could develop into a very nice yearling for the sales!

Tintin In America x Titled colt foal 2013

Tintin In America x Titled colt foal 2013

Titled colt that reminded me very much of Tintin In America at a similar age

Titled colt that reminded me very much of Tintin In America at a similar age

And for comparison, a photo of Tintin as a foal

Tintin In America as a foal

Tintin In America as a foal

Tintin running December 2005

Tintin running December 2005

The foal from Stunning is a filly, and very correct. I’ve said before that Island Fantasy was a flop as a sire, but his pedigree is beautiful and he brings quality bloodlines to the table as a damsire. The mare is leaving some ‘stunning’ foals!

Stunning and her Tintin In America filly foal

Stunning and her Tintin In America filly foal

Stunning and her Tintin In America foal

Stunning and her Tintin In America filly foal dozing in the shade

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One possible source of good breeding advice is experienced, successful New Zealand breeders.

Studholme Bloodstock’s Brian West and Alta Dream Lodge’s Tony and Val Dickinson kindly give their advice and thoughts about breeding, pedigree matching .  I regard both of them as successful breeders because (going right back to my very first blog) they have thought long and hard about the “U” part of the equation – what they are trying to achieve. For example, Tony is measuring his success less by the immediate financial returns at the yearling sales and more but the outcome on the racetrack when the horse matures. Brian has a strong sense of what sires are trending commercially but not at the cost of compatibility with the mare’s pedigree and type.

Bee: Have you ever used a breeding consultant or consultancy as one of the inputs when you are deciding a match or assessing a potential broodmare purchase? If so, was it helpful and was the result successful?

Tony: Yes, I do use a consultant but only to analyse the progeny pedigree (filly or colt) for stallions I have already shortlisted for other reasons, e.g. size, conformation, fee, stud performance etc.

Brian: No. But I have talked to Jim Dalgety many times over the years as a mentor and he has been very helpful. He is an incredibly knowledgeable man, who deserves far more recognition for what he’s contributed to our industry.

Bee: Do you think breeding/pedigree consultants are a rip off or a waste of money?

Tony: Of course they are not a rip off – any help from this quarter is useful and it is up to the breeder to decide how much weight to attach to the advice.

Brian: As long as the person’s credentials are okay, it’s not a bad idea at all. Breeders can always do their own research if they have the time. But if you are new to the business (and it is a high-risk industry) you need as much advice as you can get.

Bee: What advice would you give to someone who was considering using a breeding or pedigree consultant?

Tony: Beware of pedigree analysis which delves deeply into obscure family history simply to reinforce the consultant’s own preference for certain sires or sire lines. In years gone by, stallion owners were quick to debunk theories, such as cycle breeding, genetic sibling matches, ‘golden’ crosses and so on, when their stallions did not suit the theories. This doesn’t happen much now because fewer and bigger stud farms have an array of stallions to cover most eventualities. But it was certainly prevalent around the time that John Gaines famously referred to breeding consultants as ‘charlatans’ as he looked to protect his extensive interests in the horse industry.

Brian: Find out what they have bred of note, or what they have suggested to others and why they chose that sire. If they are putting themselves up as an expert you would expect to see some success in their own breeding decisions.

Bee: Do you use any standard breeding theories in making your sire selections (e.g. line breeding, outcrossing, x factor, returning to the sire the best blood of his dam, etc)?

Tony: I am very much influenced by the need to replicate famous matriarch blood, particularly if it sits in the pedigree where the x factor can be transferred to the progeny.

Brian: I tend to look for a total outcross or 4×4 to Meadow Skipper or a combination of that. But in terms of advice to others, I suggest a good place to start is to print out the pedigrees of the top 10 or preferably top 20 two and three year old horses in a season. Study the pedigrees closely and you will start to see what might work, and identify some of the ‘nicks’ that are successful.

Bee: What do you think of the saying: “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best?”

Tony: Alright, as far as it goes, but that’s not far enough in my view. Every breeding theory can be justified in some way. However, nothing substitutes for good hard research into a mare’s family history and the proposed consort/s race and stud performance and pedigree compatibility. An orderly, considered approach beats the random method of sire selection.

Brian: It’s a cop out. As you go on, you reach other conclusions.
Bee: When you select a sire for your commercial broodmares, what factors are most important to you: (Possibly all of them, but what 2 or 3 are most important?)

A. Likely commercial appeal of sire.
B. Pedigree compatibility on paper.
C. Physical type complements mare’s type.
D. Sire’s reputation regarding type he leaves (physical and/or temperament)
E. Service fee
F. Similar pedigree matches are successful (in that family, as ‘golden crosses’, or in a top race horse/s)
G. Sire is proven.
H. Other

Tony: Physical type complements the mare. Service fee.

Brian: Pedigree compatibility on paper. Sire is proven (sire line successful, he performed as a 2yo and 3yo, and he has had success as a sire). Physical type complements mare. Service fee.

Bee: Any other comments about approaches to breeding that you feel strongly about?

Tony: The commercial appeal of a sire is important, but we don’t let that consideration over-ride our desire to breed top performing racehorses – as distinct from breeding yearlings (remember, there are no races for yearlings!) If we bred solely with the yearling sales in mind, we enter the ‘fashion fickle stakes’ wherein a popular stallion today may be out of favour in two years just when the yearling goes on the market. We look to create a point of difference, patronizing a mix of sought-after sires and new, unproven sires for our mares where we are convinced that the resultant mating is in the best interests of the foal making it to the racetrack.

Brian: You do have sires that serve you well, and mares or families that serve you well. In terms of mares, I’ve got about 30 mares at the moment and at least 10 of them are from the Dream Bel family. And for sires, early on Soky Atom was a sire I really went for. I’ve had a go with some of the good Australian-based ones in the past, like Walton Hanover and Village Jasper, but they didn’t sell well here. You learn as you go. Usually I prefer proven sires, but I will take a punt on a third year sire which might be at a slightly reduced fee because that’s the year they can struggle to get mares. And I will take a punt on a new sire if he meets most of what I want. I can take those risks with some of my mares because I have the numbers.  I usually make a longish short-list at the beginning of the season, then reduce to about 5 or 6 sires.

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